ISU men’s golf becomes top-40 team heading into offseason

Mike Randleman

After the completion of its fall schedule, the ISU men’s golf team finds itself in the top 40 in the Golfstat rankings.

Though the team already bested last year’s top tournament result of third place with three runner-up finishes, Iowa State has squandered opportunities to win tournaments due to first round struggles. In four of five tournaments, the team’s highest round occurred in round one.

“I really haven’t put my finger on it, but it is a pattern I’ve seen even going back to last year,” said ISU coach Andrew Tank regarding the team’s rocky starts. “It’s something we need to address and talk about this offseason.”

The Cyclones have shown resiliency after poor starts, though, which has allowed them to move up the leaderboard at the end of tournaments.

“We definitely have a lot of positives to take, but more than anything, if you look at the whole fall season, a lot of good things are happening,” Tank said.

Two newcomers, freshmen Nick Voke and Ruben Sondjaja, are among the positives Tank has seen. Voke and Sondjaja have combined for five top-10 finishes and are first and third on the team, respectively, in scoring average.

“We’re looking forward to the spring. There are lots of good signs out there for all of us,” Sondjaja said. “I think it’s just a matter of time before things click, and I’m sure we’ll get that win sooner or later. I think all of us are pretty hungry for it.”

Junior Scott Fernandez has also been a leader for the Cyclones and has recorded two top-five finishes, including the team’s best individual finish, a tie for third at the David Toms Invitational.

Fernandez listed a few goals for the offseason, one being getting some needed rest.

“Rest can be just as important as practice,” Fernandez said. “We had a long season and the offseason should be good for us.”

After taking some time off, Fernandez mentioned maintaining his form around the greens and regaining a competitive hunger for the spring season will be essential to spring success.

His teammate, junior Sam DaleyCQ, has also played a key role for the Cyclones. He is fourth on the team in scoring average and finished in a tie for eighth place at the Gopher Invitational in his best finish of the year.

Daley, Fernandez, Sondjaja and Voke have been mainstays in the starting lineup.

Finding a consistent fifth starter has been an issue. Redshirt sophomore Collin Foster, redshirt junior Blake Waller and senior Zach Steffen have all started in at least one tournament in that role.

Foster has emerged as the leading candidate for the position, competing in three tournaments thus far. His best finish was a tie for 25th place at the VCU Shootout, where he held a share of second place heading into the final round.

Heading into the offseason, Tank knows there are plenty of things the team can accomplish in the preseason, like qualifying for the NCAA regionals and finals.

“We’d definitely like to win an event, getting multiple individual victories. I’d also like us to finish in the top 25 in the rankings at the end of the year,” Tank said of other goals he has in mind. “Those are really our goals and this offseason, the work that the guys do, is really going to determine how many of those we can achieve.”